Back to Sussex


One of the most memorable dates in the history of England is beyond doubt 1066.  In that year William the Conqueror - also known as William I, landed on the shores of Sussex, and fought the Battle of Hastings against Harold Godwinson.  The battle, which took place at Senlac Hill (6 miles north-west of Hastings) saw many English soldiers being slaughtered, despite their advantaged position on the top of the hill.

Four years after the battle, the newly crowned King William, was ordered by Pope Alexander II to do penance for killing so many people.  As a result, William ordered an Abbey to be built on the on the very spot where King Harold fell during the battle. It took several years before the Abbey opened.  In fact, William died before the Abbey was completed in

The abbey remained functional until it was destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII. Only the outlines on the grounds remain of the Abbey church itself, but some of the abbey's buildings are still around.  However, most of those were built between the 13th and 16th century. The grounds, and some of the buildings are owned by English Heritage, and they are open to the public.  However, some of the buildings are owned and occupied by Battle Abbey School, and visitors to the abbey are not usually allowed inside them.

The town of Battle was built around the Abbey, and is currently a pleasant tourist attraction.  Beside the abbey, there are a number of other tourist attractions, including the Museum of Local History, and Yesterday's World.